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Thorntons enjoys increase in festive sales

Thorntons increased its sales by 6.3% to £93.1 million in its second quarter as the chocolate maker saw “encouraging” like-for-like growth in its retail division.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Thorntons enjoys increase in festive sales

Thorntons increased its sales by 6.3% to £93.1 million in its second quarter as the chocolate maker saw “encouraging” like-for-like growth in its retail division.

In the 14 weeks to 11 January 2014 retail like-for-like-like sales rose by 3.5% although total sales declined by 2.9% to £46.1 million reflecting 36 store closures in the period. Consumer Direct sales delivered good growth, rising by 27%.

UK commercial sales grew by 21.1% following a strong Christmas performance which was driven by "excellent" sales of seasonal specialities, a broadening of sales across the customer base and early spring deliveries, the retailer said.

International sales, which account for 2% of the retailer’s business, fell by 15.5% in the quarter although growth for the half year remained positive at 9.2%.

Franchise sales declined by 3.1% in the period.

Thorntons chief executive Jonathan Hart said: "Our performance over this important period demonstrates continued good progress in the transformation of our business. We are pleased that both our operating divisions delivered positive results with strong sales in our FMCG division and encouraging like-for-like growth in our Retail division.

"Customer response to our new seasonal lines, in particular our Advent calendars and our Snowman licensed range, exceeded our expectations. We also saw good growth in our core boxed chocolate ranges, notably through our refreshed Classics selections."

Hart noted that economic conditions remained challenging for many customers and that the overall market was very competitive.

"These results are further positive evidence of the actions we have taken over the past two and a half years to rebalance our business and revitalise our great brand. We are confident in our plans for the key spring seasons, in particular Easter. Our current outlook for the financial year remains in line with market expectations," he added.

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